Bodhisattva Padmapani, Transitional period, 10th–11th century
Copper alloy with gilding and semiprecious stones; H. 26 1/4 in. (66.7 cm)
Purchase, Bequest of Mary Clarke Thompson, Fanny Shapiro, Susan Dwight Bliss, Isaac D. Fletcher, William Gender Beatty, John L. Cadwalader and Kate Read Blacque, Gifts of Mrs. Samuel T. Peters, Ida H. Ogilvie, Samuel T. Peters and H. R. Bishop, F. C. Bishop, O. M. Bishop, Rogers, Seymour and Fletcher Funds, and other gifts, funds and bequests from various donors, by exchange, 1982 (1982.220.2)
This elegant representation of the Bodhisattva Padmapani is an early example of the use of semiprecious stone inlays, one of the most distinctive features of Nepali and Tibetan sculptures. Although few remain today, multicolored stones such as turquoise and carnelian would have filled all the circular depressions in the crown, armlets, and belt.
Bodhisattva Padmapani ("bearer of the lotus") is identified by the lotus flower at his left shoulder. His smooth torso, broad shoulders, long legs, and relaxed posture reflect the impact of the Gupta style, which prevailed in north India from the fourth to the sixth century. The armlets and crown derive from contemporaneous artistic practices found in the northeast during the tenth to the twelfth century. Nepali traditions are seen in the broad face, full cheekbones, and elegant features, which differ from the smaller and fuller facial features found in Indian art. The curves of the eyebrows and eyes and the long line of the nose are also typically Nepali, as are the delicately incised flowers that decorate the bodhisattva's short saronglike garment.